Make that two in a row.
Jerrell Mock’s victory in the talent-filled Roy Griak Invitational Men’s 8k over the weekend marks the second consecutive year that a member of the Colorado State men’s cross country team has finished in the top spot in the race.
The redshirt junior’s impressive finishing time of 25:06.3 in his debut race of the season was just 14 seconds slower than Jefferson Abbey’s winning time in 2015.
“Jerrell Mock ran a superb race today, probably the best race he’s run in a Rams uniform,” head coach Art Siemers said in a statement. “He beat a very solid field of guys today and pretty much controlled the race. He ran very smart in the pack. He had a great finish, and he brought us back an individual champion for the second year in a row on the men’s side.”
In the history of the Roy Griak Invitational, there have only been five other schools with back-to-back individual victories. The most recent school to do so was the University of Arizona in 2010 and 2011.
Grant Fischer and Eric Hamer were the next men to finish for CSU. Fischer cracked the top 25, finishing in 25:37.6. Hamer rounded out the top three Ram finishers, breaking 26 minutes at 25:52.3. None of CSU’s top seven competitors on the men’s side finished outside of the top 100 runners. The field included 263 men.
On the women’s side, Ali Kallner’s 50th place finish in the 6k was the fastest by any Lady Ram on Saturday. The sophomore crossed the finish line in 22:43. She has finished within the top 50 both times competing in Roy Griak. Senior Janelle Lincks was also able to squeeze her way into the top 60 finishers. Her time of 22:50.9 was good for 55th place.
Despite undesirable racing conditions, both the men’s and women’s teams were able to finish within the top 10. The Lady Rams totaled 409 points and finished in 13th place out of 34 teams. The Colorado State men’s team collectively finished seventh in the 29 team field with 178 points.
“It seemed like it went out pretty fast today,” Jerrell Mock said. “It was definitely really sloppy and muddy so you had to kick out your legs really fast. It was a lot of fun and there were a lot of good runners here today and it’s really exciting to be competing with them. The mud always surprises you, you plan in your head that it’s going to be hard and tough but you don’t know until you’re out doing it.”
In a meet where it seemed many Ram runners were shaking their offseason rust off, coach Siemers recognized that things will only get better from here for the Rams.
“We looked a little bit tired out there, but we’re training very hard and it’s early in the season,” Siemers said. “Some of our athletes had their first race today and you could definitely see some of the rust on their legs.”
Up next the Rams Men’s and Women’s cross country teams will travel to Seattle to compete in the Washington Invitational on October 1st.
Collegian sports reporter Eddie Herz can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Eddie_Herz